Awards and Bursaries

The Michael McDonell Memorial Award in Social Justice

Michael graduated in June of 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Sociology and Double Minor in Labour Studies and Humanities and was enrolled to begin his MA degree studying labour issues in Canada at the University of Victoria in the fall of that same year.

Michael was a highly engaged and committed undergraduate student, not just in the department through SASU as their chair, but across campus through many other student bodies as well. He was a familiar figure in the corridors of the Sociology and Anthropology Department, regularly sighted speaking with students and faculty members, organzing meetings and events, and encouraging others to get involved. He was also a former SFPIRG board member, part of Left Alterrnative Action Group, a key member of the Labour Studies Union, active in solidarity with the Quebec student movement, worked to build support for possible student action in BC, supported Occupy Vancouver, bulit solidarity for the BC Teachers' Federation in their dispute with the government, and attended many more demos and rallies.  Michael had many friends, was widely respected, and touched many people with his passion for social justice.

Sadly, Michael McDonell passed away in a drowning accident in July of 2013 at the age of 23.

The endowment supports the Michael McDonell Award in Social Justice. The purpose of the award is to provide recognition to undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and, in particular, those who have demonstrated commitment to social activism and justice.

One or more awards, valued at a minimum of $1000, will be granted annually in any term to undergraduate students who meet the following criteria:

  • are enrolled full-time in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in the term of the award
  • are in good academic standing
  • have a demonstrated commitment to volunteerism related to social activism and justice.

Applications must include:

  • a letter outlining their volunteer service as it relates to social activism and justice, along with a letter of reference which verifies this information.

When possible, preference will be give given to students enrolled in a program in Sociology or Labour Studies.

The award will be granted by the Senate Undergraduate Awards Adjudication Committee upon the nomination of the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Academic Programs & Enrolment Management, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

A list of all awards, bursaries and financial aid available to undergraduates through the university can be found on the Student Services website. For questions, contact the SA Undergraduate Advisor at